Managing Director - Advisory

🔭 Our mission & vision

The Forward Institute was set up in 2015 by a group of major organisations with a bold mission: to make responsible leadership the only leadership.

We believe that much depends on our collective leadership over the next decade. So we’re on a quest to help leaders and some of the world’s most influential organisations become more sustainable, equitable, purposeful and responsible.

Job Description

Do you want to use your creativity and experience to build the UK’s leading advisory business focused on purpose, responsible business and system change?​

At the Forward Institute we’re all about responsible leadership – helping senior leaders in influential organisations to become a force for good. We’re growing our advisory team so we can provide more hands-on support to organisations serious about embedding responsibility and purpose at the heart of how they operate. ​

This bespoke advisory work with organisations is central to our mission to build a movement for responsible leadership. So we’re looking for a Managing Director excited about the potential to grow a world-class advisory business – operating with influence, credibility, and impact at the most senior levels in major organisations – and doing this in a different way to current consulting norms. We’re trying to build a business model that allows us to be truly purposeful and to have impact at scale, without falling into the traps of too many consultancies that end up chasing revenue targets, needing to sell in projects at all costs, and burning through the lives of their people in the process.​

Our focus is on leadership, purpose, culture, and system change. So we need an authentic and principled individual with deep experience of leading change in major organisations, and who can serve as a trusted advisor to CEOs and senior leaders across the private and public sector. You will also need to be a strong people leader, as vital to our approach is growing a diverse community of the top thought leaders and practitioners on purpose, systems change and responsible business. ​

We think this is a rare opportunity to grow and scale an advisory business – shaping it to do things differently but with the benefit of being part of an established organisation with a growing reputation, strong network and significant existing base of influential partner organisations.​

Areas of Responsibility:​

Strategic leadership: Develop the strategy to scale the impact of our advisory business, responsibility for the successful delivery of all our advisory work, help to build our reputation, brand and network of senior relationships​

Facilitation and project execution: Lead and facilitate our most impactful pieces of advisory work - bringing insight, wisdom and creativity to complex problems. Co-design and support senior leadership experiences which imbue leadership communities with a commitment, energy and momentum to lead responsibly​

Commercial and relationship management: Shape a commercially responsible, accessible and competitive operating model, and drive the growth of a healthy and meaningful portfolio of work that sets us up to achieve our mission​

Team development: Nurture and grow our talented team of dedicated, bright colleagues and associate Directors to deliver on our mission, strategy and objectives​

For the full job description, person specification and information on how to apply please find here. ​

Additionally, we are currently recruiting for a Commercial and Strategy Director, and some other full time, and Associate roles within the Advisory team - details of these roles can be found on our job page on our website.

Responsibilities & tasks

We are excited to launch our search for an exceptional individual to lead our advisory business – the fastest growing part of the Forward Institute. ​

Our bespoke advisory work with organisations is central to our mission to build a movement for responsible leadership. Our ambition is to work deeply with 10-20 major organisations over the next decade – helping them to become exemplars of purpose and responsibility.​

So we’re looking for someone excited about the potential to grow a world-class advisory business – operating with influence, credibility, and impact at the most senior levels in major organisations – and doing this in a different way to current consulting norms. We are trying to build a business model that allows us to be truly purposeful and to have impact at scale, without falling into the traps of too many consultancies that end up chasing revenue targets, needing to sell in projects at all costs, and burning through the lives of their people in the process.​

Our focus is on leadership, purpose, culture, and system change. So we need an authentic and principled individual with deep experience of leading change in major organisations, and who can serve as a trusted advisor to CEOs and senior leaders across the private and public sector. You will also need to be a strong people leader, as vital to our approach is growing a diverse community of the top thought leaders and practitioners on purpose, systems change and responsible business. ​

It’s an ambitious strategy but we are building from strong foundations:​

A growing reputation and established strong partnerships with 30 major organisations (ranging from the British Army, UK Civil Service, the Bank of England and Cancer Research to bp, Lloyds Banking Group, John Lewis and Tesco)​

A small but very talented team of both full-time colleagues and part-time associates​

A growing community of 800+ senior leaders we have worked with to develop as change makers and advocates for responsible leadership, and who remain in our leadership network​

Experience of (and legitimacy from) working solely on purpose and responsible leadership for the last 8 years. We’ve learnt a lot!​

The existing infrastructure and systems to cover the HR, operational and financial needs of a growing team​

An influential network of 50 ExCo and Board level advisors and sponsors and a growing community of many of the UK’s leading thinkers on purposeful and responsible leadership​

A powerful tailwind of dramatically increased interest in purpose and responsible business – and a growing recognition of the need to go beyond aspirational statements to embed ESG and purpose commitments in organisational culture and strategy.​

Our advisory team has developed out of our long-term, trusted relationships with our partner organisations. We view the work as symbiotic, rooted in, and complimentary to the wider work of the Institute. So as well as running our advisory business, the candidate will have an important leadership role across the Institute as a whole.

Ideal candidate

We don’t expect the person we hire to have ALL the following but hopefully this gives you a sense of what would enable you to thrive in this role and in our team:​

APPLY IF…​

You are passionate about purposeful and responsible business, with a track record of working with senior leaders on strategy, leadership development, culture change and collaboration​

You’re hungry to grow something; to take something from proof of concept and scale it for ambitious impact – we’re looking for energy, not necessarily a proven track record of growth​

You have experience of doing the work of organisational change – either because you’ve led it from within an organisation or because you’ve walked alongside organisations on the journey as a consultant ​

You build deep relationships; you build for the long term, you grow trust and influence, you understand the power of networks​

You are driven by the opportunity to bring together, work with and learn from a stellar and diverse team of impressive individuals​

You are up for finding a better way to do consultancy; taking all the best bits and merge it with a blend of responsible leadership that makes it sing,​

You like building on foundations, you’re not starting from scratch, you’ve got a running start ​

You’ve got commercial and sales nous - you’re listening for meaningful opportunities to advance the mission, ready to shape a commercially sound model and have an eye on accessibility across all sectors​

You are a brilliant facilitator with significant experience of working with senior leaders and leadership teams, ​

Ideally you’ll have experience of working with a wide range of organisations, with a diverse toolkit drawn from systems thinking, design thinking, innovation, coaching and consulting​

YOU’LL LOVE IT HERE IF YOU…​

Are driven by hope and optimism, tempered with pragmatism and inspired by the potential of our mission, our partners and our team ​

Know the time for direction and the place for real collaboration, bring warmth and good humour, and positive intent to every situation​

Have a curious mind and are always open to the insights and perspectives of others and can flourish in ambiguous and highly fluid settings​

Are passionate about building and scaling a quality operation, holding impact and people at its core ​

Enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, are happy to work without a big support structure around you, and would like to grow with a relatively small but ambitious organisation as it develops over time

Skills & qualifications

Strategic leadership​

Develop the strategy to scale the impact of our advisory business, working closely with the Institute’s CEO and Board​

Responsibility for the successful delivery of all our advisory work​

P&L responsibility for the advisory team​

Be a credible figurehead for the Institute in the external environment, helping to build our reputation, brand and network of senior relationships​

Help build and shape the Institute’s knowledge, philosophy and methods​

Play an active role on the Institute’s leadership team and as a senior leader in the wider organisation​

Facilitation and project execution​

Co-design and support senior leadership experiences which imbue leadership communities with a commitment, energy and momentum to lead responsibly and embed the principles and practices of responsible leadership throughout their organisations. ​

Lead and facilitate our most impactful pieces of advisory work – bringing insight, wisdom and creativity to complex problems​

Commercial and relationship management​

Drive the growth of a healthy and meaningful portfolio of work, that sets us up to achieve our mission​

Lead business development through long-term, trusted relationships with our partners - co-creating opportunities and translating them into innovative concepts that drive meaningful change​

Shape a commercially responsible, accessible and competitive operating model ​

Cultivate deep and trusted relationships with our partners, by advising, challenging and supporting their efforts to embed purpose and responsibility at the heart of their organisation​

Work closely with the CEO and Commercial and Strategy Director to set up strategic relationship management structures across the Institute to leverage our fullest potential in advancing our mission with key partners​

Team development​

Coach, grow and develop our people. Nurture our talented team of dedicated, bright colleagues to deliver on our mission, strategy and objectives, growing the organisation beyond its current size and impact and managing the team in a way that exemplifies our philosophy in practice​

Build a fabulous, collaborative and vibrant network of associate directors and senior advisors - the team that everyone serious about purpose and responsibility wants to be part of!

How to apply

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